Love lit a fire in my chest, and anything
that wasn't love left: intellectual
All I want now
to do or hear
translated by Coleman Barks
The Christian mystic and teacher, Thomas Merton, wrote that: "One cannot...enter into meditation...without a kind of inner upheaval. By upheaval I do not mean a disturbance, but a breaking out of routine, a liberation of the heart from the cares and preoccupations of one's daily business."
When I want to break my routine, I may visit my garden, or I may turn to my bookshelf. Over the years, I have found reading poetry to be one of the most rewarding and practical spiritual disciplines. A friend of mine recently told me that she appreciates poems because they are surrounded by so much silence. Indeed, reading a poem requires us to enter a place of stillness that throws us out of the forced hurriedness that we have created for ourselves. Silence provides its own sense of upheaval in our noisy lives.
I consider many poems to be lifelong friends. The links below will introduce you to a few that I hope will befriend you.
For every poet it is always morning in the world; history a forgotten, insomniac night. The fate of poetry is to fall in love with the world in spite of history.
- Derek Walcott
The Way of Love, by Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
Expands His Being, by Meister Eckhart
i thank you God for most this amazing, by e.e. cummings
To the Unseeable Animal, by Wendell Berry
The Hidden Singer, by Wendell Berry
This Morning Our Boat Left, anonymous T'ang Dynasty Chinese Poem translated by Kenneth Rexroth
Enlightenment, Ch'en Yu Yi, translated by Kenneth Rexroth
Psalm 1, translated by Stephen Mitchell
The Journey, by Mary Oliver
The Summer Day, by Mary Oliver
In Blackwater Woods, by Mary Oliver
Twilight Comes, by Hayden Carruth
Twilight Comes, by Wang Wei, translated by Kenneth Rexroth
Japan, by Billy Collins
This Much I Do Remember, by Billy Collins
The Moose, by Elizabeth Bishop
Touch Me, by Stanley Kunitz
Startled by God, by Hafiz
The following links take you to some of my own poems, most culled from the pages of the Daily Muse.